Preston 0-0 Millwall ~ Match Report

Rating: 2 votes, 3.50 average.
Another trip up north this week, this time to the ever so slightly more civilised Preston, a place that is lost in the past and has no intention of ever finding its way out.

It says a lot about a place when you realise its name comes from a religious background. Priest Town as it was known conjures up all sorts of weird images in my mind and I’ll leave you, dear reader, to conjure up your own.

Charles Dickens had it right basing his quirky novel “Hard Times” in this neck of the woods. The locals are what you would describe as ‘professional’ northerners.

Their allegiance to the cloth cap and neckerchief are stuff of legend and you would have no trouble, even in this day and age, believing that Richard Arkwright is alive and well and looking to improve on his water powered spinning wheel.

“By ‘eck” isn’t a phrase it is a fundamental watchword for these people. They wander around with black puddings tied to their waist bands in a vain attempt to look like they have a purpose in life.

Rumour has it that Butch Cassidy (yes he did exist in real life) was actually born in Preston and his parents immigrated to America to escape persecution from the local religious zealots because they (the Cassidy’s) were Mormons. If Paul Newman wanted to adopt a more realistic approach in the famous film then he should have spoke in a more ee by gum, lad accent...yeah that would have enhanced his Oscar chances, wouldn’t it?

Did I mention it was cold? Me and MrsB were more than comfortably warm driving up in the Bonemobile but by all that is holy it was taters when we got out after parking up near the ground.

The odd statue of Tom Finney sliding in an ornamental pond was bedecked in a plethora of icicles to emphasise the already obvious fact that it was not going to be a cosy episode in the Lions bid to move steadily up the table.

We had much more success with buying pies and coffees at the kiosk than we did at Middlesbrough as the girl behind the jump spoke a smattering of normal English and to be honest the food and drink was delicious.

We settled down to take a look at the team and we couldn’t spot new signing McQuoid anywhere and then the rumours spread that he had already crocked himself in training and hadn’t travelled. How typical is that?

Still, Mr Jackett made one change only from the win at Middlesbrough, replacing Craig with Barron so the team was as follows:

Forde, Barron, Shittu, Robbo, Dunne, Henry, Trotter, Mkandawire, Puncheon, Andrew and Morison.

The referee was listed as K Wright but I think it should have been an ‘I’ instead of a ‘K’. The ‘I’ standing for I am always...

400 odd Lions fans were congregated in the vastness of the away section and to be honest the rest of the ground was as sparsely populated.

We were in good voice though and as referee Wright got us going we roared the lads on, our breath freezing as it left our lungs.

A rock solid pitch , heavily sanded did nothing to enhance close control and the game soon developed into long diagonal passes but we were better at it than they were and we forced our way forward after a very brief opening period of Preston pressure.

Morison had a tame effort saved easily after being set up by Andrew and then Henry fizzed a shot wide of the post.

Then we had a golden opportunity to open the scoring after Morison robbed their defender just inside their half. He raced down the middle toward their goal but his body language just looked wrong. He had options with Henry and Andrew both keeping pace with him but he chose to go alone and his final effort lacked pace and direction and the ball went straight into the grateful arms of Lonergan.

We then lost Trotter who limped off with what might be a hamstring problem and we welcomed back Jimmy Abdou into the fold and he segued back into the midfield with little or no fuss whatsoever.

Puncheon got on the end of a perfect Henry cross but his header was superbly saved by Lonergan in the PNE goal who was already looking like he could be a thorn in our side all afternoon.

It was Puncheon again who nearly opened the scoring after worming is was into a decent position, his shot looked goal bound from our angle but it went just the wrong side of the post with Lonergan finally beaten.

The half drew to a close with a few hefty challenges from the home side but it was all a bit turgid and the whistle brought more a sigh of relief than anything else.

The worst thing about the half time break was that we were force to listen to what I can only describe as a novelty act. The Lancashire Hot Pots came on to perform a couple of songs that really beggared belief. One was a folk song about Preston North End and the next one was about remembering your wallet, keys and phone when going out for a night in Preston.

Take me Lord, I’m ready....

The second half was thankfully a bit more entertaining than the first (which wasn’t too hard to achieve) and we definitely upped the pace and started to pile on a lot of pressure with Preston resorting to crude challenges and total reliance on the form of their , I grudgingly admit, superb goal keeper.

We had the midfield totally under wraps and with the back four hardly called upon we saw Dunne perform a startlingly good impression of an attacking wing back.

We had a lot of success breaking through on the right flank with Henry and Morison but no matter what we tried either fortuitous defending or heroic goal keeping kept us out.

Abdou missed a sitter, Robinson’s toe poke was squeezed off the line, Puncheon hit the side netting, and Morison headed over from close range. Andrew picked up a loose ball from Morison and his drive beat Lonergan but again went wide of the mark.

Lonergan again rescued his side after yet another Morison shot was gallantly saved by the overworked ‘keeper.

Andrew was replaced by Marquis with twenty minutes remaining and the lad did his best to get involved but all to no avail.

The away support went into an awe inspiring monk chant of biblical proportions as the temperature dropped the noise level went up and the players did respond with more attacking. Andrew fed off of Morison but he shot wide and then Morison hit a stinging shot that the seemingly unbeatable Lonergan saved quite brilliantly.

A great chance again went begging when Morison rose to meet an inviting cross from Barron after linking up with Marquis out on the left flank but with the goal at his mercy and Lonergan for once flat footed the big striker guided his header a fraction over the bar.

I think that miss summed up our afternoon really.

The game sort of petered out after that and when the final whistle sounded the lads received a modicum of applause from the brave souls who had made the journey and to their credit they all came over to reciprocate.

So one point added to the total and we move onwards with the visit of Scunthorpe and the TV cameras to look forward to.

See you all there?
Tags: None Add / Edit Tags


    sounds like i missed a cracker - gutted .
    Nice report mate i felt like i was actually there reading it .